Dave McCormick hopes the second time is a charm.
McCormick, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2022 and lost by fewer than 1,000 votes to Dr. Mehmet Oz in the GOP primary, announced Thursday in Pittsburgh that he is running again, this time to take on three-term Democrat Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
“Under Joe Biden and Bob Casey, what’s supposed to be up is down, and what’s supposed to be down is up. We can and must do better,” McCormick said in his announcement. “We cannot lose our country. We cannot lose our culture. We cannot accept the status quo.
“When Joe Biden says ‘vote,’ Bob Casey says ‘which way?’” McCormick added.
Even before he announced, McCormick, 58, garnered the endorsement of Americans for Prosperity Action, a PAC affiliated with the free market organization Americans for Prosperity. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) greeted McCormick’s announcement as good news.
“Dave McCormick has done a remarkable job of unifying the grassroots in Pennsylvania,” said NRSC chairman Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) “A graduate of West Point, combat veteran, and Pennsylvania job creator, Dave is exactly the type of candidate who can win both a primary and a general election in one of the most competitive states in the country. It’s great news that Dave is stepping up to serve our country once again.”
National Republicans are hoping the Pennsylvania GOP can rally around McCormick’s candidacy and avoid an ugly primary, one that might result in yet another flawed general election candidate like Oz or 2022 gubernatorial nominee, state Sen. Doug Mastriano. On Monday, Mastriano told conservative news outlet Real America’s Voice, “It’s time to unify. If [McCormick] is our nominee, I’m backing him.”
McCormick’s candidacy is particularly important because it is in a state like Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia, where Trump is expected to do well if he is the Republican presidential nominee next year. All four of those states have incumbent Democratic senators seeking reelection, and the GOP just needs to flip two to win the majority.
Democrats clearly see McCormick as a serious threat, and they wasted no time going on the attack.
“Pennsylvania leaders speak out against Connecticut mega-millionaire David McCormick,” screamed the headline of one of several press releases fired off by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party Thursday.
“We know that this person is a Connecticut resident. If you want to run for U.S. Senate, go to Connecticut to run for U.S. Senate,” said state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Pittsburgh). “Don’t come to be a carpetbagger here in Pennsylvania.”
In fact, McCormick was born in Washington, Pa., and grew up in Bloomsburg. After being awarded a Bronze Star for his service in the Persian Gulf War and earning a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton, he returned to Pennsylvania and worked in Pittsburgh.
“I definitely have strong feelings about Dave McCormick,” said Pat Poprik, chair of the Bucks County GOP. “He’s just the perfect combination. Number one, he’s a businessman. Number two, he was in the Army. He knows what the military needs. He’s a decorated guy. And he was a business person in a tough arena, also. When he went to Bridgewater (a hedge fund), it wasn’t the smoothest stuff. So he turned that business around.”
Radnor businessman Austin Hepburn supported McCormick during his first run for the Senate and said he “100 percent” supports McCormick today.
“Dave is a very intelligent guy,” said Hepburn. “Dave has good insight into how our economy works and into government.”
And Hepburn said McCormick would also be good on foreign policy. “We’re losing friends,” said Hepburn. “Blowing up the Nord Stream 2. The war in Ukraine. We need to turn over a new leaf.”
He predicted “incredible turnout in 2024.”
“People who voted for Biden are seeing things more clearly now,” said Hepburn. “We need smart people in Washington, and Dave’s a smart person.”
Veteran GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who advised the John McCain and Jeb Bush presidential campaigns, says the 2024 presidential race presents a mixed bag for McCormick’s prospects.
“I think Trump will be a heavy anchor around McCormick’s neck in the all-important Philly suburbs,” Murphy said. “On the other hand, unless Biden’s numbers on the economy get better, the president will struggle statewide in Pennsylvania as well.”